300 Metre Bus Lane Scrapped after Just 21 days
A council is scrapping a 300 metre (980ft) bus lane after just 21 days at a cost of £60,000 because it was found to be tripling the length of commuter journeys.
The Tregolls Road bus lane in Truro, Cornwall, will be suspended on Monday after it was found to have increased the average peak time journey into the small city from seven minutes to 21 minutes since its November 2 launch. The lane on the inbound stretch of the A39 was part of a wider £12 million scheme of road improvements, which included a new park and ride and redesigned junctions to help the 18,000 people who commute into Truro every day.
Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for transport, said the authority would pay £30,000 to remove the red road surface installed for the bus lane, on top of a similar sum paid to install it in the first place.
He said: “It is clear that the bus lane has not achieved what it was intended to, and has reversed the improvements of the junctions and the park and ride. The council’s engineers have gathered data from cameras and sensors as well as from road users. The delays caused by the bus lane are counter-productive. We are not achieving a better balanced flow or offering bus users any benefit. On this basis it is clear that this final part of a complex scheme needs to go.”
Although the bus lane is suspended from Monday, the legal process to reverse the traffic order and permanently remove the lane is expected to take until January to complete, he added.
Council staff who measured the journey time into Truro from the nearby village of Tresillian found it tripled following the lane’s launch.
Mr Biscoe added: “Removing the red surface during the planned maintenance works will reduce the costs to around £30,000.”This, added to the original installation costs of £30,000, will result in a total bill of £60,000.”
He said the cost would be covered from the road scheme’s contingency budget, adding: “Such bus lanes usually form part of park and ride schemes in other parts of Britain, but clearly have not worked as part of this otherwise successful and much-needed traffic management scheme in Truro. “Cornwall Council is learning its lessons – one of which is, when one tries to ‘marry’ engineering and psychology, it’s important to respect both disciplines.”